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How did you learn to sew?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I've been teaching myself to sew a little at a time for a while now.This definately is not the best method for learning to sew.Especially since it's all trial and error.

So,I'm just wondering...how did you learn to sew?
post #2 of 31
My mom sews, and we had sewing classes in jr high.
there are lots of books on amazon about sewing.

what are you having trouble with? I still don't match stripes or plaids, too much work. I don't do much that is complicated because I'm impatient.

There are some books on alterations that can be helpful if you are hard to fit. Also, remember if you wear a size 8 at the store, you don't wear a size 8 pattern! Check the pieces against your body. Buy multi sized patterns so you can adjust. If you can find the 'fitting shell' patterns (I think mccalls and simplicity have them) it may be a good idea to get one.

I still only make very simple things, rarely do zippers, and in a pinch I will pay an alterations shop to do my buttonholes or blind hems if I don't like the way my machine does them. I had a machine once that had 'funny looking' buttonholes. eventually I got rid of it, but that was my stopgap solution.
post #3 of 31
Mostly by watching Sewing With Nancy on PBS.
post #4 of 31
My grandmother was a fabulous sewer and made dresses for us when we were growing up. She was always an inspiration, but she didn't teach me. My first "lesson" was a Stretch & Sew class at a local fabric store (which may give away my age because this was the fad in the 1970's). From that point on, I taught myself by trial and error, just like you. Now I sew professionally, as well as for fun.

Sewing clothes really isn't the best place to start -- it's too complicated. I suggest home dec projects like throw pillows, pillow cases for the kids, curtains, simple gifts, hair scrunchies, craft projects (things that don't require precision). After you feel comfortable with those types of projects and want to make clothes, try pajama pants or a nightgown. Because you'll be wearing them in the dark, they don't have to be perfect!

Good luck!

~ Kathryn
post #5 of 31
I guess you could say self taught with instruction, lol. I've taken out alot of books and read alot online. But otherwise, I've just gone ahead and hoped for the best. I dont know anybody who sews - I only have the ladies here to answer questions for me.
post #6 of 31
my sister is teaching me...it's going a little slow but I like it.
post #7 of 31
My mom sews. She supported us for a while doing wedding parties (bride, bridesmaids, flower girls, mother of the bride, christening gowns, etc) and such. She made most of my and my sister's clothes for years, as well as our doll clothes (anybody else have My Friend dolls? they had patterns galore!). I did my first hand sewing at six and had my first machine at seven, basically so I'd let my mom sew in peace while I was workin on my own stuff.

In jr.high we had to take a home ec class, half of which was sewing. I finished the project in the first week, and then worked on something from home, or helped classmates wind bobbins and etc to keep them going.

I'm glad that I learned young, as now, when I have time, I can do a lot of what my mom did. I make my kids' jammies, my dd's dresses and pants/shorts...it's nice to have the skill!
post #8 of 31
I've taken a few classes, but mostly It's been from trial and error. My mom doesn't sew, but I never hesitate to look online, watch a good tv show on sewig or get a book from the library. I say pick up a pattern and some inexpensive fabric and go from there.
post #9 of 31
My mom taught me, when I was 5 or 6. Both my sister and I sewed clothes for ourselves when we were kids, though Mom did the "hard" stuff, at least for me. And there's still a lot of trial and error. I like reading Threads magazine for technique; I also learn a lot by following pattern instructions to the letter. This is not as much as a d'oh as it seems: in learning style, I'm one of the plow ahead without reading the manual kind of people. So it's a very conscious thing to slow it down and do everything according to the rules.

Back when I had the time, I would go shopping just to try on different styles of things, as a means of making pattern selection less of a trial and error deal. I also tend to choose patterns that are forgiving--not a lot of fussy fitting (hard to do for oneself) and lots of extra room where I need it.
post #10 of 31
Read the book 100 times, then took them machine out of the box, then tried, and learned how to use the seam ripper very well. I'm much better with it now.
post #11 of 31
I started sewing when I was around 10 with my mom. I also watched my Grandma sew.

Then, when I was 12, I took my first home ec class that had a sewing unit. A wrap skirt was my first garment project.

I continued to take home ec classes every year (8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade) and even took a few classes that were exclusively dressmaking.

For me, being able to watch someone else sew was the key. I can follow written instructions pretty well, but I learn better hands-on.
post #12 of 31
i took a series of classes in 3rd grade called "Kids Can Sew". it was in a sewing shop that had lots of machines and 2 surgers. it was a blast. we made several outfits and modeled them in a style show at the end of the season. it was amazing the outfits that we made. i still can't believe that i made them that young. i would love for dd to learn to sew at a young age.
post #13 of 31
I started learning from my mom when I was a little girl, (she is a professional quilter.)
post #14 of 31
Although I took sewing badges in Girl Guides, and two units of Sewing classes in high school, I was never interested or particularly good at sewing until I was 20 (11 years ago). That's the summer I decided I wanted to make a black satin skirt. The sister and mother of my boyfriend at the time were both avid sewers, so I had them supervise me on my first project. Since then I've been mostly self-taught, taking on progressively more difficult patterns until now I am confident in my ability to sew pretty much anything.

I read Threads magazine fairly regularly. I also attended some workshops at a Sewing trade show which helped me learn a lot about zippers, pockets, lining and a number of other technical issues. Those workshops have been great and I look forward to taking more. I've learned about fitting from reading a lot of library books, and also from trial and error.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Wow!Thanks for all your stories.It's very interesting to me.I think it's a shame that I was able to graduate high school with skills in algerbra but I can't sew myself a simple outfit or change my spark plugs.I'm all for bringing home ec and auto shop back.

So far I've made some easier things like pillows and small simple quilts.Some felt foods and little doll/creatures.But I realize that I've probably been doing some things the hard way since I don't really know what's out there.I need to start reading some books.And once I get the language down I'm going to try a pattern.

Thanks for the tips!
post #16 of 31
I agree with a pp who said grab any pattern and just go!

I admit thats what I did *before* I took out the how-to books. I found a kids pants pattern that was rated easy or beginner and picked up some fabric remnants and then went full speed ahead. You can just imagine what they looked like!

But it was fun playing around with the machine and trying to cut fabric.
post #17 of 31
My aunt taught me how to hand sew, my mom taught me how to sew using a machine. My maternal grandparents owned a drapery shop (mom has it now), so all of us learned basic sewing.

My paternal grandmother was an amazing seamstress, and I inherited a lot of her sewing books when she passed, but by the time I was ready to learn, she was unable to teach me.
post #18 of 31
Middle school home ec class. It's a shame most schools don't teach that stuff anymore. (We also had woodshop and metalshop. Most of what I needed to know to build my house was based in those woodshop classes!)

I've gotten a lot better at sewing with practice, trial and error, and reading. I'm a teach-myself kind of person with most things.
post #19 of 31
Originally Posted by rere View Post
I've been teaching myself to sew a little at a time for a while now.This definately is not the best method for learning to sew.Especially since it's all trial and error.

So,I'm just wondering...how did you learn to sew?
Handcock Fabrics and JoAnn Fabrics have sewing classes and I will take one as soon as dd (13mo) is Ok being left without me.

My mom gave me some lessons that helped me get through my Waldorf baby dress, but mom lives in another state so not the best way to get help.
post #20 of 31
My mother taught me.

I use Singer books to help me when I get stuck, now. Sewing with Nancy is/was a really great show. I think it still comes on. Even my mom used to watch her and my mom started sewing when she was 12.
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